Background: Adhesion molecules are closely involved in the development and growth of metastatic tumours.
Methods: We examined the expression of two adhesion molecules in liver metastatic tumours originating from colorectal carcinomas and correlated the expression of E-cadherin (EC) and CD44 variant exon 6 (v6) in these tumours with prognosis after hepatic resection. We examined 39 primary colorectal and 44 liver metastatic tumours obtained from 39 patients and 30 non-metastatic colorectal carcinomas as controls. The expression of EC in primary colorectal carcinomas of the metastasis group was significantly lower than in the non-metastasis group (P < 0.05). The expression of EC was low in metastatic liver tumours.
Results: The expression of CD44v6 in primary colorectal carcinomas of the metastasis group was significantly higher than in the non-metastasis group (P < 0.01). Expression of CD44v6 was high in metastatic liver tumours. However, there was no correlation between the expression of EC and CD44v6 or between each of these molecules and clinicopathological features of primary and metastatic tumours. Negative expression of EC and CD44v6 was a poor prognostic factor for survival after hepatic resection.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that the lack of expression of EC and CD44v6 in liver metastases of colorectal cancer is associated with poor survival after surgery.
© 1999 Blackwell Science Asia Pty Ltd